How to Grow Ma Huang

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Ma huang is an herb that was originally grown in China. The stems of the plant are dried and used for medicinal purposes to treat colds and the flu. Ma huang also is used as a natural appetite suppressant. The active ingredient in Ma huang is Ephedra, which is illegal in many states in the U.S. because it can induce seizures, high blood pressure and, in some cases, strokes. Ma huang plants take two to three years to mature and produce large, edible orange flowers that have a sweet flavor.

Things You'll Need

  • Potting soil
  • Sand
  • Flowerpot
  • Ma huang seeds
  • Plastic wrap
  • Low-nitrogen liquid fertilizer
  • Mix equal parts potting soil and sand. Place the mixture into a flowerpot.

  • Place the ma huang seeds on top of the potting soil mixture and cover them lightly with sand.

  • Water the seeds immediately after planting and as frequently afterward as necessary for the soil to remain moist.

  • Cover the pot with plastic wrap to help the seeds maintain moisture. Place the pot in direct sunlight for at least six hours each day.

  • Remove the plastic wrap when the seeds begin to germinate small seedlings. This usually occurs after about 11 days.

  • Reduce the amount of water you give to your ma huang plants once they begin to germinate. Ma huang is a desert plan, and too much water can be detrimental after germination.

  • Provide the young seedlings with a low-nitrogen liquid fertilizer once every two weeks.

  • Transplant the seedlings to an area of prepared soil in your yard or garden when they reach about 4 inches in height. You also can leave them in pots. Ma huang grows well in both areas.

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